Do not mix and match Covid-19 vaccines: Swaminathan

Mixing and matching of Covid-19 vaccines is a “dangerous” trend as there is no sufficient backup data available to support its efficacy, the WHO has warned.

“We’re in a data-free, evidence-free zone here as far as mix-and-match,” Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist said during an online briefing. “There is limited data on mix and match.

“It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third, and a fourth dose,” she said.

Pharmaceutical companies are offering booster shots. Shots of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, University of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech as well as the Russian Sputnik V, are all required to be administered in two doses with the prescribed intervals between the shots differing for each vaccine.

Sputnik V also has a single-dose vaccine named Sputnik V Lite and the jab by Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine.

Inequitable supply

The WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the global gap in Covid-19 vaccine supply was “hugely uneven and inequitable.” “Some countries and regions are actually ordering millions of booster doses before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, according to a WHO statement said, companies must send vaccines to poorer countries whose unvaccinated citizens desperately need them against a Delta variant which is “ripping around the world at a scorching pace driving a new side in cases and death.”

And after 10 weeks of declines, deaths are increasing again.
“We continue to hear reports from all regions of the world about hospitals reaching capacity. In countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation is particularly bad,” he said.

Delta is now in more than 104 countries and “we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide. The world is watching in real-time as the COVID-19 virus continues to change and become more transmissible.”

Instead of Moderna and Pfizer prioritizing the supply of vaccines as boosters to countries whose populations have relatively high coverage, “we need them to go all out to channel supply to COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, and low- and low-middle income countries, which have very low vaccine coverage,” he said

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